SI joint pain refers to pain felt in the sacroiliac joint located between the ilium bones and the sacrum. Patients with SI joint dysfunction experience pain around the buttocks and lower back areas of the body as a result of injury or damage to this joint that connects their hip to their spine.
Unlike other joints in the body such as the shoulder joint, which is highly mobile, the SI joint is not supposed to move extensively. Instead, it should only move slightly in order to bring about a balanced transfer body weight and force between the legs and the rest of the body. Given that SI joint pain can sometimes mimic conditions like a herniated disc, it is important that the patient is accurately diagnosed.
Physical therapists at Oklahoma Physical Therapy have extensive experience with examination and diagnosis of this problem and make the most suitable physical therapy recommendations. For most patients, physical therapy is often the preferred treatment because it is non-surgical, and unlike pain medication, there’s no risk of an addiction developing. For pregnant women, an option that would not include medication would be the most preferable.
Causes of SI Joint Pain in Pregnant Women
Pregnancy affects the SI joint in a number of ways, including:
Stretching of the ligaments
In preparation for childbirth, the ligaments that keep the joint stable stretch. They are supposed to shrink back to normal soon after delivery, but sometimes they remain more lax. When this happens, the joint becomes highly movable causing pain.
The other alternative is when pregnancy leads to the locking of the sacroiliac joint. This is as a result of the increase of the Relaxin hormone that softens the structure of the lower spine and the pelvis, ultimately causing discomfort, especially in the SI joint.
A pregnant woman’s growing abdomen often shifts her center of gravity which results in a change in the way she walks. Such a change can bring about strain or pain on her back.
For most women, SI joint pain that occurs as a result of pregnancy resolves itself with time, but for those who find themselves experiencing pain well after delivery, physical therapy becomes an option to seriously consider.
How Our Physical Therapists Treat SI Joint Pain
A typical evaluation includes evaluating problems in a number of areas including:
- General conditioning
- Poor and/or asymmetrical patterns of movement when carrying out daily activities
- Length and strength imbalance of trunk and leg muscles
- Problems affecting the motion, position, and function of the joints below and above the SI joint
- Little control of the muscles around the pelvic region and lower back that keep this area stable
Contact us today at Oklahoma Physical Therapy and let us partner with you to alleviate your SI joint pain.